Tea Party V. GOP for Gov Nod; Rangel Fights for Seat

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010  |  Updated 10:59 AM EDT
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Tea Party Tests in NJ Primaries

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A Primary Primer: Checking in on the Candidates

Melissa Russo previews the major races taking place across New York state on Sept. 14.

A Primary Primer: Checking in on the Candidates

Melissa Russo previews the major races taking place across New York state on Sept. 14.
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The strength of a tea party candidate trying to ride a wave of voter anger against the state Republican leaders' choice in the race for governor will be tested along with the future of the state GOP and Conservative parties in New York's busy primary today.

Primary voting in New York got under way early-- as candidates for governor, attorney general and other races are facing off in the last major state campaign before November's midterm elections.  Polls in the city are open until 9 p.m. For full polling info go here.

Millionaire developer Carl Paladino, a political novice promising deep tax cuts and some eye-popping social programs as governor, has drawn even with Rick Lazio, a former congressman and the Republican and Conservative designee, a weekend poll showed.

In the latest twist in a raucous contest led from the start by Lazio, Paladino's campaign confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the millionaire is backing Ralph Lorigo, a Conservative who also is running for governor. Lorigo is in the little noticed Conservative primary against Lazio, the choice of that party's leaders.

In May, Lazio beat Paladino for the line, which has been critical for Republicans running in the blue state. Lorigo won more than 25 percent of delegates' votes to get on the ballot and was seen by some as a place holder if Lazio didn't win the Republican nomination. Some thought Lorigo, the Erie County Conservative chairman, wouldn't run. In recent days, however, he began an active campaign, without reporting any expenses as required.

Democratic voters in the primary will pare down a tight field of five candidates in the race for the party's nomination for attorney general, a position that catapulted Eliot Spitzer — and now Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo — toward the governor's office.

But the Republican primary for governor has dominated the airwaves.

Now,  Lorigo — with what turns out to be Paladino's backing — is fighting Lazio for the "soul of the Conservative Party."

Party Chairman Michael Long, the state's longest-serving party leader at nearly 22 years, said he's never seen one candidate for governor aligning with another to derail a third.

"This is a covert political operation that reeks," Long told the AP. "Lorigo is trying to claim the moral compass of the party, meaning the chairman — meaning me — has gone off the cliff ... this is corruption at its highest peak."

Meantime, Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel's ethics problems have attracted a crowded field of Democratic primary challengers, but he’s still the favorite in his Harlem-based congressional seat, Politico reports.

Only one of Rangel’s four primary opponents is well-known within the district: Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, whose father, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., served for decades before Rangel ousted him in a 1970 primary.

In the race for state attorney general, five candidates are in competition to replace Andrew Cuomo and run against Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, the Republican nominee.

The candidates are Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, 45, Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, 64, former state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo, 47, of Manhattan; Sean Coffey, 54, a former federal prosecutor and private securities-fraud litigator, and Manhattan state Senator Eric Schneiderman, 55,

In another race, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a 64-year-old Democrat who has never lost a race is fighting of a challenge from first-time candidate Reshma Saujani, 34, a former hedge fund lawyer.

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